Impromptu Mushroom Tofu Burgers (great for the grill)

What follows are my recollections from a throw-together experiment. Peeps were coming to eat 4th leftovers, mostly burger shaped things, and I didn't have anything new for my veggie friend. But I did have some already grilled portabellas, some brand new dried mushrooms from the Oyster Creek Mushroom Company (all from Maine except the morels. absolutely gorgeous dried mushrooms. much much fresher and more fragrant than most others I've worked with), and a block of firm tofu in the fridge. A cursory glance at a couple online recipes gave me the idea to firm it all up with breadcrumbs. There were a lot of suggestions for lentils, beans, shredded carrots, celery, and whatnot, but I wasn't interested. Simple, straight forward, and grill-capable. That's what I was going for.

Makes 5-6 patties, takes about 2 hours total but most of that is non-active marinating time.

1/2 cup chopped grilled portabellas (or, if you're starting without leftovers, start with 3/4 cup fresh)
1/4 cup assorted dried mushrooms (use what you like, if you don't have dried, use 1/2 fresh)
4 shallots
garlic (when I made this recipe, garlic scapes were in season so I used those, about 6, minced. This week I picked some fresh garlic, in which case, I'd use a whole head - to sum up: lots of garlic in whatever form you've got it)
4 tbl Worcestshire sauce, vegetarian variety (Annie's makes a great one)
4 tbl olive oil, another 4 tbl for grilling
1 1/2 to 2 cups bread crumbs

Soak the dried mushrooms for about 30 minutes, reserve the liquid. Drain the tofu and roughly cube, pressing out excess water. Marinate tofu in mushroom liquid and Worcestshire sauce. Meanwhile, rough chop the dried mushrooms and saute in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the portabellas, the shallots, and the garlic after the dried mushrooms have become golden and sauteed, and cook only a few minutes more. Take off the heat and allow to cool while the tofu finishes marinating. The tofu should marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferrably, an hour.

Drain the tofu, reserving 4 tbl of the liquid and throw tofu and reserved liquid into a food processor or heavy-duty blender. Add the mushroom garlic saute, and process until it's totally mushed. Add 1 1/2 cups of the bread crumbs and process some more. Feel the mixture. If it is really wet, add another half cup of bread crumbs. It should be fairly firm and solid, and not really mushy or sticky. Form into patties and grill at your leisure (I made mine 4 hours ahead and they were great.) Right before grilling, brush a little olive oil over each side.


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